christian churches

Art and Exile

I AM an artist.

A painter does not merely reproduce what is thought to be seen by the eye. An artist’s task is to train the eye first to truly see and to disregard previously imposed categories—those easy preconceived notions that lure us to think we are seeing when we are merely looking. An artist’s task is to see through the eye into the eternal, into the invisible.

A musician’s task is to hear, to listen to the sounds of the world. Bach, created out of the fabric of faithfulness to his community and to his church. He created through generational wisdom. He heard the echoes of the music of the spheres and sought to synthesize what he heard.

Do you not see what I see in a dancer’s leap? It can never be repeated, even in eternity. Yet, eternity’s echoes ring throughout the body, and I dance with them. Precisely because that act is ephemeral, I make them permanent.

A poet’s task is to reveal through intuition the knowledge of reality and an emotional state that is at once mysterious but made accessible through her or his word.

One of your exiled poets wrote in 1864:

Love—is anterior to Life—

Posterior—to Death—

Initial of Creation, and

The Exponent of Earth—

Who is this love? Who is “anterior to life,” and “posterior to death”? “Initial of creation, and the exponent of earth”?

This poet, as a teenager, was told by your leaders in a seminary in Amherst that she had “no hope to be saved.” We know from these poems that Emily always desired to know her Creator. I do not celebrate waywardness, but I am here to seek the lost. I will leave 99 church members to seek the one lost poet.

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Latin American Churches Criticize U.S. Budget Debate, Support 'Circle of Protection'

More than 140 prominent Protestant leaders from 12 Latin American countries have signed an "open letter to the Christian churches of the United States," asking American Christians to stand with "the most vulnerable members of US society" who would be affected by proposed budget cuts to the social safety net.

Citing the Circle of Protection as a positive Christian witness, the signers also expressed their dismay. "We view with deep concern recent decisions in the United States that will add to the suffering of the most vulnerable members of US society," the letter read. It was signed by a broad array of Latin American religious communities, including leaders of the Latin American Council of Churches, the United Bible Society of Latin America, evangelical councils and alliances in Peru, Ecuador, Honduras, Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, and Uruguay, the Fellowship of Evangelical Churches (CONELA), the Association of Reformed and Presbyterian Churches of Latin America (AIPRAL), Micah Network, Indigenous Association of Peruvian Amazonia, and the Latin American Biblical University in Costa Rica.

Should Christians Celebrate Passover?

This evening I will lead a Passover Seder observance in my Christian community. We've done it for years and always find it inspiring to reflect on God's liberation from slavery. And it's the occasion for a delicious potluck feast.

This week I saw an article written last spring on Jews' concerns over Christians celebrating Passover. It seems that more Christian churches are using "Christianized" versions of the seder, reinterpreting the meal's symbols to reflect Christian beliefs. Said one rabbi, "They take our symbols, our holiday, our ritual and start investing them in Christian meaning."

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